Joseph Mallord William Turner

Partial Copy of ‘The Enchanted Isle’ by Antoine Watteau; Two Composition Studies for ‘Rome from the Vatican’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 88 × 114 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXLI 27

Catalogue entry

The drawing after Watteau’s Enchanted Isle, made with the sketchbook inverted, is mainly on folio 26 verso, this being only a slight extension of it with further colour notes; see notes to D10629 for the subject and background.
The other studies here are drawn within pencil lines, running vertically on the left of the leaf. They are different in handling and must have been drawn at a different time. David Hill’s suggestion to Selby Whittingham1 that they are ideas for Rome from the Vatican. Raffaelle, Accompanied by La Fornarina, Preparing his Pictures for the Decoration of the Loggia (Tate N00503)2, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1820, is surely right. The encircling composition, loggia and figure of Raphael can be made out in both while in the lower of the two studies Bernini’s arcades are also discernible. This might argue for further recourse to the sketchbook in the short period after Turner’s return from Italy when he was working on the picture; the smudge or fingerprint of brown oil or varnish presumably occurred at the same time. While the drawing after Watteau must be earlier, the conjunction on a single page of references to artists and Old Masters whom Turner actually painted in person is very suggestive; see notes to D10629 for the later Watteau Study by Fresnoy’s Rules (Tate N00514).

David Blayney Brown
July 2011

Published by Whittingham 1985, pp.10, 23 note 128.
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.137–8 no.228 (pl.231).

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